Haverhill Rovers 2 Lowestoft Ladies 4
Haverhill Rovers 2 Lowestoft Ladies 4 image
A hatrick from Lauren Goulder and a great strike from Natasha Thomas, saw Lowestoft Ladies through to the final of the Suffolk Cup.
In previous weeks the Lowestoft midfield have been guilty of sitting too deep and not showing enough movement. However, right from the off today they were holding a good line and looking very mobile, creating good space and opening the match with some solid passing.
It was therefore no surprise when they took the lead in the 12th minute, with Natasha Thomas sending a great cross over from the right corner and Lauren Goulder meeting it close in to volley home brilliantly for 1-0 (12 mins).
It had been a pretty solid looking start for Lowestoft but they very nearly threw the lead away with Jody Wells labouring at the back and getting caught in possession by the number 7, who stole the ball off her and headed towards goal, only for her to pull the shot wide, much to Lowestoft's relief.
Haverhill then started to find their feet, as the game evened up a bit and Haverhill started to get in behind and down the channels, causing the Lowestoft defence a few issues.
Haverhill were certainly starting to get some joy and after breaking away following a Lowestoft attack, Lowestoft keeper Sue-Lyn King was forced into tipping an effort behind from the number 9.
Sue-Lyn King had denied a goal with that save but could do nothing to stop Haverhill drawing level from the resulting corner, as the corner came in and the number 7 volleyed beautifully to send the ball inside the post for 1-1 (23 mins).
Apart from the goal the number 7 was having a good game for Haverhill and was also finding some space out wide, which nearly resulted in Haverhill then taking the lead. A ball was sent across from the right to the edge of the Lowestoft area but with the number 10 shooting and Sue-Lyn King already having advanced out of goal, Sue-Lyn king was able to stand tall and claim the ball.
It was a pretty even affair so far but Lowestoft were getting some joy down the left with Chloe Hoffman wanting the ball and seemingly enjoying taking on the Haverhill defence.
Lowestoft nearly restored their lead with a thrown in from the right finding Natasha Thomas, who crossed into the area and onto the head of Lauren Goulder but her header floated past the far post as the scores remained level.
As the final few moments of the half ticked away, Haverhill came close to taking the lead with the number 2 sending a great volley over the Lowestoft crossbar but with the whistle going the sides went in at the break level.
Lowestoft were by far the quickest out of the traps for the second half and with Natasha Thomas showing good pace to get a chance to bare down on goal early on, the keeper had to save down low with her hands to deny Lowestoft the lead.
Lowestoft kept the early pressure on in this half and with Jody Wells hitting a great strike from outside the area, all the keeper could do was to push it away and across the face of goal but with nobody attacking or following the ball in, the chance went begging for Lowestoft.
It didn't take Lowestoft much longer to deservedly get themselves in front though, with a lovely threaded ball from Jody Wells releasing Lauren Goulder into the area and with a cool finish she sent Lowestoft 2-1 ahead (53 mins).
Lowestoft were really getting on top now and both Chloe Hoffman and Natasha Thomas were getting plenty of joy down the right. However, Lowestoft were served a reminder from Haverhill that this game was far from over, with the number 15 being allowed too much time and space to shoot from distance but luckily for Lowestoft her shot went just wide of the target.
A third looked certain for Lowestoft but with Chloe Hoffman crossing from the right the keeper made two saves in quick succession; firstly denying Lauren Goulder and then getting a touch on the follow up shot from Charlotte Eastwood.
The third goal did come shortly after though, with another ball coming in from the right and with Lauren Goulder bringing the ball down really well, she finished with aplomb to secure her hatrick and to send Lowestoft 3-1 ahead (68 mins).
The third goal by Lowestoft seemed to kick Haverhill into life again, as they started to try and press the Lowestoft defence, as they had on a few occasions in the first half. Unfortunately for Haverhill though, most of their play was going down the left and with Marcie Prettyman putting in several fantastic tackles at right back, they couldn't find a way to the Lowestoft goal.
Lowestoft nerves were going to be tested for the final 10 minutes though, as Haverhill got to within one goal, with the number 8 being found with a long ball and she sent a looping shot over the stretched Sue-Lyn King and into the goal for 3-2 (79 mins).
Haverhill understandably were then looking for the equaliser but with Flo Cage looking her solid self and Marcie Prettyman continuing to make some great tackles, Lowestoft kept their noses in front and eventually started to apply pressure again themselves.
There were a couple of minutes left on the clock but with so many Haverhill players going down with cramp, there was a large amount of injury time still to come.
Natasha Thomas was really causing issues out on the right though and with another burst of pace she got past the defence and fired a shot over.
Haverhill did pluck away in injury time, with both teams starting to tire but in injury time and with the last attack of the game, Lowestoft scored the fourth, to put the result beyond any doubt. Natasha Thomas yet again found space down the right but on this occasion instead of a cross she sent an unstoppable shot across the goal and into the net, to secure a fantastic 4-2 win for the Lowestoft Ladies and to book their place in the final of the Suffolk Cup.
It was a fairly even first half but Lowestoft's quality and determination came shining through in the second half. Four players in particular caught my eye today; with Marcia Prettyman putting in some strong and important tackles at the back and Chloe Hoffman making some good runs, while also giving Lowestoft an outlet in the channels. Natasha Thomas caused mayhem with her pace and quality of delivery from the right and also scored a super goal. It was a close run thing for the Lady of the Match plaudits, as Natasha Thomas had played brilliantly again but with some classy and clinical finishing in front of goal and very well taken hatrick, my Lady of the Match was Lauren Goulder.
Great result ladies and enjoy yourselves in another cup final.